How to safely send money to family abroad


Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO and has 20 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely quoted as an expert… Read more

There may be all kinds of reasons why a person might want to make an online money transfer overseas to family or friends. Perhaps the person abroad is in some kind of financial difficulty and needs a helping hand to get back on their feet. However, perhaps the person who is sending the money is working in a better-paid environment and has promised to support family members back home. Whatever the reason, it’s important to do it safely.

Use a reputable provider

In an ideal world, scammers would always be able to be caught out. But with foreign exchange fraudsters now using a wide range of sophisticated techniques to trick their users, there’s more reason than ever to be cautious. Reading reviews, as outlined below, is one way to at least begin to check the veracity of any claim made by a money transfer provider. Looking them up on a registry of licensed money services providers in your local jurisdiction is also wise, as it can quickly throw up any red flags which you may not previously have been aware of. 

Avoid big fees

Some unscrupulous online money transfer providers will try and charge the earth, even if you’re only making a small cross border payment. However, the reality is that the market is full of providers that provide cheap fee structures. Usually, the best way to deduce whether or not a provider might charge you high fees is to check out some online reviews, where reviewers will usually collate information on both published and hidden fees.

Don’t forget rates

When you send money abroad, there are two types of fee you’ll often have to pay in addition to the money you’re actually sending. One will be the charge outlined above, and the other will be the exchange rate. This rate will convert the money from your currency into that of the destination country, so if the exchange rate isn’t in your favour, it will be “absorbed” into your payment rather than charged separately – or, in other words, your recipient will simply receive less.

If the interest rate isn’t in your favour, it could well be advisable to cling on as long as possible before the transaction is made in order to maximise the value that the recipient will get. In cases where transfers are being made for hospital bills or something similarly urgent, this isn’t usually possible. But for, say, school fees, speaking to the finance department and asking for a payment holiday could end up saving you lots of money in the long run if rates turn around.

Sending money overseas is a great way to help people back home, and to make sure that you’re doing your bit to look after the family. And by shopping around for a legitimate provider and also ensuring you don’t get stung by huge fees or bad exchange rates, you can do this safely and cheaply.

See more of our personal guides to money transfer abroad here.

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